Heat Resistant

  Novacool takes a new approach to breaking fire triangle.   A fire needs three things to burn – oxygen, heat and fuel. If one of these three is removed, the fire goes out. Most extinguishing foams attack fire by means of vapor suppression. Separate the fuel from the oxygen and combustion can not be sustained.   Novacool UEF, made by Baum’s Castorine of Rome, NY, takes a different approach. Rather than oxygen, Novacool attacks the heat side of the eternal triangle of fire, said Brian Ritter, technical officer for Novacool.   “Our whole mission is to remove the heat from the problem,” Ritter said. “Then we don’t have to worry about fuel vapors.”   Fire fighting foams such as AFFF use fluorosurfactants that are persistent and bio-accumulative in the environment. Novacool UEF (universal extinguishing foam) enhances the effectiveness of water by using rapidly biodegradable substances such as anionic, nonionic and...
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Risk Assessment Plant engine company configurations

Our last article concluded a series on the likelihood of public fire department intervention at industrial facilities. We were reminded that even if the fire department is willing to intervene, the average engine company is not set up with industrial hose stretches in mind.   Most engine companies are configured for their bread and butter operations; that is, the two story residence. Preconnected 2.5" (65 mm) hose lines are typically limited to 150 feet (50 meters).   Standpipes can eliminate the need for such a long stretch; however, it is important to remember that NFPA 13, Automatic Sprinklers, does not require standpipes. They may be required by a local code, but our experience is that standpipes are frequently not provided. Small hose stations are more typically provided but they are not standpipes and cannot support 2.5" hose. Even if 2.5" standpipe outlets are provided, the difficulty of locating them deep inside...
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Focus on Hazmat H2S gas threatens responders

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) aka “rotten egg gas” has been around longer than mankind. It is a product of volcanic activity as well as the anaerobic decomposition of organic material, such as raw sewage. It illustrates the multiplicity of valence or oxidation states of sulfur (-2, +4, +6) which can act as either an oxidizer or a reducer.   The gas is extremely toxic, comparable in this respect to hydrogen cyanide. It was used as a war gas at least once during World War I (1916) though with limited success due to the warning given by its strong odor.   Attention was directed to the possibility of using H2S as a means of self destruction after it was so used to carry out a number of suicides in 2008, primarily but not exclusively in Japan. As of 2010, this has occurred in a number of US cities (and in Putney West London, England),...
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Highlights of 2010 AHA Guidelines

The new cardiac science"Guidelines" are out! This article is based on information found in the American Heart Association’s Highlights of the 2010 Guidelines for CPR and ECC.   The Guidelines have been developed for resuscitation providers and for AHA instructors. Please reference the American Heart Association website www.americanheart.org, or your instructor materials for additional information. This article is a summary and will address basic life support issues only. Advanced life support issues, as well the addition of new Post-Cardiac Arrest Care and Education will be addressed in future articles.    General Changes   The 2010 AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC once again emphasize the need for high-quality CPR, including: • Compression rate of at least 100/min (a change from approximately 100/min) • Compression depth of at least 2 inches (5cm) in adults (a change from 1 ½-2 inches) • Compression depth of 1/3 the diameter of the chest in infants...
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Not all fires are the same The importance of hazard assessments

When it comes to protecting workers from the hazards of industrial fires, there is no such thing as a “typical” fire. Workers in different industries are susceptible to many different types of fires and it is the responsibility of the employer and typically the task of the site Industrial Hygienist or Safety Manager to understand the potential hazards their workers may face and to protect them accordingly. This article will discuss the regulatory and procedural issues associated with protecting workers from the hazards of fires in today’s workplace.   In the U.S., the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is at the top level of the regulatory structure pertaining to protecting workers from fires in the workplace. Under the OSHA general duty clause (1970 OSH Act, Sec. 5. Duties) it is the responsibility of the employer to identify and quantify any hazards to workers and provide the appropriate control measures,...
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Dust Cleaning Taking a professional approach

Combustible dust, (or explosive dust), cleaning, is a required preventative good housekeeping and maintenance program, in manufacturing and production facilities. This minimizes safety hazards, potential flash fires, and catastrophic dust explosions, in addition to maintaining Indoor Air Quality. Combustible dust is fine particulate dust, which is generated from products such as wood, metals, grains, agricultural, chemicals, plastics, paper, and carbonaceous products. The manufacturing and production facilities equipment and machinery, pulverize, mill, grind, crush, macerate, and cut the bulk product. In return, dust is generated, and accumulates on all equipment and facility structure surfaces. The fine powder dust, which is suspended on the higher, inaccessible and unnoticeable surfaces, is the most problematic. Yet the most hazardous, especially when a primary upset or explosion generates a sonic pressure wave that suspends these particles into the path of a flame front (reaction front), which causes a devastating secondary dust explosion.   In addition to...
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Safety Practices CSB issues final report on January 2010 W.Va. deadly leak

Washington, DC, September 22, 2011— The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today released its final report on a series of three accidents that occurred over a 33-hour period on January 22 and 23, 2010, at the DuPont Corporation’s Belle, West Virginia, chemical manufacturing plant – including a fatal release of deadly phosgene gas, which was used as a chemical weapon in World War One.     Oleum line eroded from outside in.     The Board voted 4-1 to approve the report following an extensive public comment period initiated with the release of a draft report on July 7, 2011, in Charleston, West Virginia. In the final report, the Board took into consideration all of the comments filed by industry stakeholders, members of the public and other interested parties, some of which resulted in factual corrections or language changes to the draft report.   CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “We thank those...
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PetroSafe Career industrial responder dedicated

Carl Anderson of PetroSafe Technologies pursued a career in industrial fire fighting, emergency response and incident management during a period of great change and innovation. Today, with more than 42 years experience, he specializes in passing on the experience, the knowledge and the lessons he and many others have learned to a new generation of industrial professionals who are eager to learn.   "When I began my career, we just didn’t have the knowledge, equipment or the tools we have today," Anderson said. "In response to fires, we would place a lot of responders on handlines and there was a surround and drown approach to fire fighting. We didn’t have a formal incident management system or a lot of the tools that we have today. How we didn’t kill more people… was only by the grace of God watching over those that would dare to respond."   There is no need...
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Record Fine

Record Fine Refinery appeals $2.38 million Washington state fine for blast that killed seven.   A legal appeal has been filed by owners of a 120,000 barrels per day refinery in Anacortes, WA, challenging a record $2.38 million fine by the Washington state Department of Labor & Industries leveled following an April 2010 explosion that killed seven workers.   "The company continues to work closely with investigators regarding this incident and continues to drive safety improvements throughout the company," a press release issued Nov. 4 by the Tesoro Corporation states.   Efforts to restart the refinery, closed since mid-April, have been ongoing since Oct. 17, the release states.   "Today, most of the refinery is operating and we expect to be back to normal operations soon," said Greg Goff, president and CEO of Tesoro. "In addition to completing repairs to the damaged units, extensive future inspections and maintenance work was accelerated...
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In January 1974, Les and Dwight Williams joined forces in Port Neches, Texas, to fight their first big storage tank fire.   When people ask about the worst fire Dwight Williams ever responded to, he replies with one word — Magpetco. Thousands of barrels of burning crude oil jumped out of a storage tank and chased the firefighters like a demon conjured from a witch’s cauldron.   Williams, who later founded Williams Fire & Hazard Control, today describes what happened as "absolutely unbelievable."   "I was in the dike with the tank that erupted," he said. "Oil kept going up and up. Then I realized that stuff was fixing to come down eventually. I went to running."   Everything caught in the path of that superheated tidal wave instantly blackened, blistered and broiled. And, yet, Magpetco, which stands for Magnolia Petroleum Company, is a fire that is all but forgotten. Other...
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Magic Wand

      Magic Wand Williams F&HC demonstrates a new device.   For decades, foam chambers have been the fire fighting fixed system of preference in protecting large diameter storage tanks. Williams Fire & Hazard Control is proposing a simpler, more cost effective alternative – foam wands.   On Dec. 14, Williams F&HC conducted a test of their latest wand, a stainless steel, maintenance free applicator that delivered foam over a distance three times as great as a standard foam chamber in the same or less time. "We’re once again thinking outside the box," Williams F&HC founder Dwight Williams said.   Foam wands have been a standard tool in the industrial firefighter’s bag for many years. The configuration makes it easy to slip into position over the rim of a storage tank. Once the firefighter retreats to a safe distance, the wand delivers foam at a 4:1 expansion rate to put...
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Dr. Sthamer-Hamburg Company ships 55 tons of foam to Israel to battle wildfire

    Fifty-five tons of Sthamex Class A airlifted from Germany to Israel by the U.S. Air Force helped extinguish a major wildfire that ranks as the worst in Israeli history.   The foam, manufactured by Dr. Sthamer-Hamburg, traveled from Ramstein Air Force Base to Israel via U.S. Air Force C-130 jet transports. U.S. Ambassador to Israel James B. Cunningham welcomed the first two flights of military aircraft carrying 20 metric tons of fire retardant chemicals to help suppress the fire.   The four-day fire that broke out Dec. 1 on Mount Carmel killed 42 Israelis and burned more than 12,000 acres, millions of trees, and thousands of homes, said Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren.   "Throughout this tragedy, Israeli firefighters, police, EMS, and soldiers worked tirelessly to battle the flames," Oren said. "And though their efforts were great, Israel could not effectively combat this blaze without the help...
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Disaster Drill

Lake Charles, LA, mobilizes for simulated terrorist event complete with explosion   Only a handful of people out of about 200 participants knew in advance the scenario for the disaster drill conducted in June 2010 in Lake Charles, LA, said Robert Daughril, an EMS specialist with the Calcasieu Parish (LA) Office of Homeland Security.   "We limited the number of players on the design team to keep as much information as possible secret," Daughril said.   Leaders involved with numerous local, state and federal agencies joined with volunteers who responded during the drill conducted at the Lake Charles Civic Center and other locations. Officials on hand included the Lake Charles mayor, police chief and the director of the Calcasieu Parish Office of Homeland Security.   "We involved all areas of law enforcement, fire departments and everyone else possible in the drill," Daughril said. "It was a multi area terrorist event dealing...
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Dave's Notes Incident command revival

Last summer’s hydrocarbon hysteria in the Gulf of Mexico kept all manners of emergency responders occupied from Louisiana to Florida. It has renewed interest in the topic of incident command. Originally, incident command developed around the concept of how best to manage and maintain control of the dozens of simultaneous operations carried out on the typical fire ground emergency, i.e., structure fires.   In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, emergency responders found themselves tasked with monitoring personnel and resources numbering in the thousands. Sure, we have all been through the classes and been taught how to move the troops around on paper, but this was the real thing. We hardly ever have to do the real thing on this scale. Most operations come down to one- or two-alarm fires where we never have to fill in all the boxes on the command sheet.   What happened in the Gulf...
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  In January 1974, Les and Dwight Williams joined forces in Port Neches, Texas, to fight their first big storage tank fire.   When people ask about the worst fire Dwight Williams ever responded to, he replies with one word — Magpetco. Thousands of barrels of burning crude oil jumped out of a storage tank and chased the firefighters like a demon conjured from a witch’s cauldron.   Williams, who later founded Williams Fire & Hazard Control, today describes what happened as "absolutely unbelievable."   "I was in the dike with the tank that erupted," he said. "Oil kept going up and up. Then I realized that stuff was fixing to come down eventually. I went to running."   Everything caught in the path of that superheated tidal wave instantly blackened, blistered and broiled. And, yet, Magpetco, which stands for Magnolia Petroleum Company, is a fire that is all but forgotten....
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Risk Assessment Beware of refinery vapor cloud release

  Vapor releases at industrial facilities handling flammable liquids or gases can result in some of the most challenging incidents an industrial responder can face. There are many ways such a release could occur. For this article, we will focus on process vapor release at petrochemical plants. Process vapor releases can result in three primary types of incidents: • A vapor release without ignition • A vapor release with delayed ignition resulting in a vapor cloud explosion (VCE) • A vapor release with immediate ignition resulting in a jet fire.   These are highly complex incidents because of a wide range of potential outcomes and potential exposure to a wide variety of process equipment, each of which has its own unique fire fighting problems. This is intended to be starting a point for discussion and to illustrate how existing chemical safety analyses can be used in pre-planning. VCEs will be addressed...
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Focus on Hazmat Vapor: The most dangerous state

From our childhood days in elementary school science class we have been taught that matter exists in three states: namely solids, liquids and gases. Recently an additional state known as plasma has been recognized but it is more theoretical than practical importance at present.   H2O can exist in any of the three common states as steam, ice or water and, when the conditions are right, it can be found in all three simultaneously. The set of conditions under which this phenomenon occurs is known as the triple point.   There are a few substances for which the pressure at the triple point is so high that under normal conditions these solids pass directly into the gaseous state from the solid. Examples of these are solid carbon dioxide (CO2) or “dry ice” and naphthalene (C10H8), commonly encountered as the active ingredient in traditional moth balls and water. Under certain conditions these...
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EMS Corner When havoc drifts toward you

Vapor clouds can be dangerous. Responders never want vapors wafting toward them when pulling up to an emergency. When threatened by a vapor cloud, standard rules should always apply. Protect oneself, contain the incident and stay up wind and on high ground for a start. With a vapor release, calculate the rate of movement and change assessment of hot, warm and cold zones based on that movement.     A Standard Diagram:   With a vapor cloud, responders end up with a more elongated safety zone:   This is a major problem for extinguishment and rescue in handling the incident. It also challenges the police charged with the evacuation and movement of the citizenry.   Containment of an industrial facility may be simple based on physical barriers. The vapor cloud may not drift to a surrounding community. An uncontained vapor cloud release increases the overall risk for potential injury to the...
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Ceiling Shattered

  Darley's new ZS 3000 pump delivers record flow for emergency responders.   For decades, the performance ceiling for compact mobile apparatus fire pumps has been 2,000 gpm. W.S. Darley & Company’s new ZS 3000 pump shatters that ceiling with flows in excess of 3,400 gpm.   “With a lift, the pump is actually rated at a 3,500 gpm industrial rating,” said Jason Darley, accounts manager for the North American pump division. “Using positive intake pressure, it will do more than 4,000 gpm. As for industrial use, with a pressurized source the sky is the limit.”   At 100 psi or higher, Darley’s new ZS pump is the highest flow pump available on the market today, Darley said. At 240 psi, the ZS 3000 produces the 2,650 gpm required to meet a special international rating.   Darley introduced its first direct drive version of the pump at Fire Department Instructors Conference...
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Industrial Partners Small town firefighters protect big chunk of Illinois economy

  Thanks to a substantial industrial base, Elwood, IL, population 2,200, might boast the best equipped fire protection district per capita of any community in the United States. Although modest in population, Elwood Fire Protection District (EFPD) also protects an expansive industrial area, and the district makes certain it has the equipment for the many facets of industrial fire protection. “Soon, that will include a brand new 3,000 gpm pumper to be delivered in September,” said Fire Chief Bill Offerman.   “We’re primarily an industrial fire department. We always have been,” Offerman said.   Functioning as a separate government entity from Will County and its municipalities, the 37-square-mile EFPD covers the 238,000 barrels per day ExxonMobil refinery in Channahon Township; the 633-acre Stepan Chemical plant; a 1,350-megawatt electric generating station; a 3.4-million-square-foot Wal-Mart distribution center; plus another 6.6 million square feet of distribution facilities.   EFPD also protects the Burlington Northern...
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